Que towers along the walls of Tang-era Chang'an, as depicted in this 8th-century mural from Li Chongrun's (682–701) tomb at the Qianling Mausoleum in Shaanxi
Chang'an is located in China
Chang'an is in north central China.
Simplified Chinese长安
Traditional Chinese長安
Literal meaning"Perpetual Peace"

Chang'an ([ʈʂʰǎŋ.án] (About this sound listen); simplified Chinese: 长安; traditional Chinese: 長安) was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese since it was a capital that was repeatedly used by new Chinese rulers. During the short-lived Xin dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" (Chinese: 常安; pinyin: Cháng'ān); yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored. By the time of the Ming dynasty, a new walled city named Xi'an, meaning "Western Peace", was built at the Sui and Tang Dynasty city's site, which has remained its name to the present day.

Chang'an had been settled since Neolithic times, during which the Yangshao Culture was established in Banpo in the city's suburb. Also in the northern vicinity of the modern Xi'an, Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty held his imperial court, and constructed his massive mausoleum guarded by the famed Terracotta Army.

From its capital at Xianyang, the Qin dynasty ruled a larger area than either of the preceding dynasties. The imperial city of Chang'an during the Han dynasty was located northwest of today's Xi'an. During the Tang dynasty, the area to be known as Chang'an included the area inside the Ming Xi'an fortification, plus some small areas to its east and west, and a major part of its southern suburbs. The Tang Chang'an hence, was 8 times the size of the Ming Xi'an, which was reconstructed upon the premise of the former imperial quarter of the Sui and Tang city. During its heyday, Chang'an was one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. Around AD 750, Chang'an was called a "million people's city" in Chinese records, while modern estimates put it at around 800,000–1,000,000 within city walls.[1][2] According to the census in 742 recorded in the New Book of Tang, 362,921 families with 1,960,188 persons were counted in Jingzhao Fu (京兆府), the metropolitan area including small cities in the vicinity.[3]

Strategic and economic importance of ancient Chang'an

The strategic and economic importance of ancient Chang'an was mainly due to its central position. The roads leading to Gansu, Sichuan, Henan, Hubei and Shanxi all converged there. The mountainous country surrounding the Wei River basin led to the existence of only two practicable roads through to the south, and two through mountainous Gansu to the west, forming the beginning of the ancient Silk Routes. Chinese itineraries gave the following distances:

  • Chang'an to Chengdu (Sichuan), 2318 Tang era li (766 miles or 1233 km)
  • Chang'an to Lanzhou (Gansu), 1180 Tang era li (390 miles or 628 km)
  • Chang'an to Hami (Xinjiang), 4518 Tang era li (1493 miles or 2403 km)
  • Chang'an to Yining (Xinjiang), 8087 Tang era li (2673 miles or 4302 km)
  • Chang'an to Yarkand (Xinjiang), 9329 Tang era li (3083 miles or 4962 km)
  • Chang'an to Beijing, 1645 Tang era li (544 miles or 875 km).[4]
Other Languages
Alemannisch: Chang'an
العربية: تشانغآن
azərbaycanca: Çanqan
Bân-lâm-gú: Tiông-an
བོད་ཡིག: ཧྲང་ཨན།
català: Chang'an
Deutsch: Chang’an
eesti: Chang'an
español: Chang'an
Esperanto: Ĉangano
فارسی: چانگ‌آن
한국어: 장안
हिन्दी: चांगआन
Bahasa Indonesia: Chang'an
italiano: Chang'an
ქართული: ჩანანი
Bahasa Melayu: Chang'an
Nederlands: Chang'an (stad)
日本語: 長安
norsk: Chang'an
português: Changan
русский: Чанъань
Scots: Chang'an
Simple English: Chang'an
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Chang'an
svenska: Chang’an
Türkçe: Çangan
українська: Чанань
اردو: چانگ آن
Tiếng Việt: Trường An
文言: 長安
粵語: 長安
中文: 长安